This isn’t my first visit to OXBO and it won’t be my last. Yes, dear reader, it’s a restaurant in a hotel but it has very individual and quirky charm, and food to appeal to even the pickiest of eaters. Its weekend Brunches and Roasts are becoming celebrated and visitors to London couldn’t find a better location. Oxbo in the Hilton at Bankside is a comfy venue which works well for groups at weekends. Its tables are configured in such a way as to provide a little privacy. Folks can enjoy a meal and then become tourists in this historic area.
Bankside is part of the London Borough of Southwark and located on the southern bank of the River Thames. The name is recorded in 1554 as the Banke syde. In Elizabethan times it was outside the jurisdiction and therefore the laws of the City of London and so became the area of choice for those looking for such amusements as bear-baiting pits and playhouses, and that included Shakespeare’s Globe. The theatre was built in 1599 but burned down in 1613, was rebuilt the next year, and then closed by the Puritans in 1642 and demolished shortly after. A modern replica was constructed in the late 1990s. That’s just around the corner from OXBO!
After the success of the Bottomless Sunday Roasts, OXBO has now launched its Bottomless Saturday Brunch. This follows the same dining format as that for the Sunday Roast. One grazes the starter counter first. The Salad Table might include dishes of potato salad, ratatouille, barley couscous, as well as lots of other fresh and flavourful preparations. Fish dishes of sliced salmon and swordfish sashimi, tiger prawns, a couple of varieties of gravadlax, and swordfish ceviche are on offer.
Chefs showcase ‘Eggs Your Way’
Carnivores are catered for with platters of ham, peppered pastrami, smoked chicken, spiced Iberico chorizo, and smoked turkey breast. Vegetarian offerings include yuzu marinated tofu, marinated mozzarella, olives and other vegetable salads and cheeses. But don’t fill up on these, as Saturday brunch also offers eggs!
Brunch is the marriage of breakfast and lunch, so egg dishes are invariably included. Here the open kitchen presents a platform for chefs to showcase ‘Eggs Your Way’: boiled, poached or scrambled. But there are also composed dishes of classic Eggs Benedict and Eggs Royal, Three-Egg Omelette with fillings, and Waffles, too – and they could also constitute a dessert.
But there is another savoury course before those sweet waffles. There will be a selection of ever-changing dishes for the whole table to share. We enjoyed salmon and beef and ravioli, along with glasses of cava which never dipped below the half-way point. The beef, in particular, was melting and flavourful, and the cheese and walnut raviolis were an understated triumph.
Appreciate the patisserie
But there was still dessert! Yes, the kids might have their eyes firmly fixed on the aforementioned freshly cooked waffles along with syrups and sprinkles, but the rest of the party will appreciate the patisserie here. There are fine miniature tarts with fruits, nuts or chocolate, and there are cookies and pastries too.
I met Executive Chef Paul Bates a number of years ago when he worked at ‘another place’. He has built a solid reputation and OXBO isn’t in any way a retrograde step. Its open kitchen offers a bit of light culinary interaction, but it’s the changing main dishes and the quality of the buffet plates that assure OXBO’s continued success.
Bottomless Brunch includes three courses and unlimited Prosecco or Cava, the standard Brunch includes three courses and a glass of Prosecco or Cava, and these brunches are available every Saturday.
Booking allocations are between 12 noon and 3pm.
Bottomless Bookings will have an allocation of 2 hours.
Hilton London Bankside
2-8 Great Suffolk Street
London SE1 0UG
Phone: 020 7593 3900
Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018